Max: The Curse Of Brotherhood originally released back in 2014 on Xbox One and Xbox 360. It was developed by FlashBulb Games who were unfortunately released from Microsoft at the same time Lionhead Studios were released. Luckily they owned the rights to this title and with the help of Wired Productions, are able to release it on Playstation 4 years later, but do the gameplay and looks still hold up?
The game starts off with Max being frustrated by his little brother, Felix. In his frustration, Max searches the internet for a spell to send his brother away. It is then that a giant hand reaches through a magical portal, grabs Felix, and takes him to a different universe. Named Another Land, this universe holds many dangers, surprises and even magical abilities. After entering this universe you have one goal in your mind: find Felix and bring him home safe.
This title is a 2.5D platformer, which has you using different mechanics to run, jump and even solve puzzles. Unfortunately as this is a platformer, jumping is a huge part. Jumping feels so bouncy and imprecise, Max doesn't even always jump when you press the jump button. In a platformer this isn't ideal and as much as I enjoyed the puzzles or story, jumping was always involved, this truly ruined the gameplay experience.
In Another Land, you are granted a magical ability, this takes the form of a giant floating magic marker. This sees you demolishing terrain in order to solve puzzles and is therefore an important gameplay element, While this sounds great, it isn't as magical as it sounds since you can only build terrain in certain ways and in particular places. This was a huge missed opportunity for the developers to allow you to solve puzzles using your own imagination. I can understand how maybe we can't use it however we want but they could have allowed us to build paths in a boxed area or something. Sure, this could have ruined some of the puzzles, but perhaps this could have been combated with a hybrid system of the two ways to build.
Another major issue I had with this title was the pacing. One moment you are allowed to solve a puzzle at your own pace and stop to see all the sights or take in all the beauty, and the next you are being forced to play the game like it's a 2.5D runner instead of a 2.5D platformer. This wouldn't have been an issue if the platforming didn't feel so bouncy and was more precise, because in those running sections you don't have time to compensate for the poor platforming so you will likely die in these parts, multiple times. The checkpoints in these sections also add to the frustration, if you mess up at the very end of a section, chances are you will be put right back to the start of the section. This issue isn't only for the running sections as the other parts of the game also have bad checkpoint placements.
The music in this game really adds to the style that the developers were going for, it sounds very exciting while at the same time being very fitting. There isn't much for sound effects in this title except for the sounds of dangerous beasts, while they don't sound great, they work in this game as you aren't really going to be listening to the sound effects of the monsters. You are really going to be focusing on the platforming andI rarely ran into a sequence where there are just monsters and no platforming involved.
The art style feels very odd, with a mixture of realism and cartoonish stylings. It doesn't feel right in this kind of game, and while the game world does look beautiful at times, I just feel that the characters don't look right in the type of world that they are in. However this could be what the developers were aiming for as technically Max and Felix aren't part of that world so it may be mission accomplished after all.
Max: The Curse of Brotherhood (Reviewed on PlayStation 4)
Minor enjoyable interactions, but on the whole is underwhelming.
While Max: The Curse Of Brotherhood does have a good story, it has too many downfalls to forgive. The platforming just isn't up to par, and the checkpoints will have you throwing your controller at a wall in no time.